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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF MORAL VIRTUE IN RELATION TO THE PASSIONS (FIVE ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF MORAL VIRTUE IN RELATION TO THE PASSIONS (FIVE ARTICLES)

We must now consider the difference of one moral virtue from another.
And since those moral virtues which are about the passions, differ
accordingly to the difference of passions, we must consider (1) the
relation of virtue to passion; (2) the different kinds of moral virtue in
relation to the passions. Under the first head there are five points of
inquiry:

(1) Whether moral virtue is a passion?

(2) Whether there can be moral virtue with passion?

(3) Whether sorrow is compatible with moral virtue?

(4) Whether every moral virtue is about a passion?

(5) Whether there can be moral virtue without passion?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether moral virtue is a passion?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that moral virtue is a passion. Because the mean is
of the same genus as the extremes. But moral virtue is a mean between two
passions. Therefore moral virtue is a passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, virtue and vice, being contrary to one another, are in
the same genus. But some passions are reckoned to be vices, such as envy
and anger. Therefore some passions are virtues.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, pity is a passion, since it is sorrow for another's
ills, as stated above (Q[35], A[8]). Now "Cicero the renowned orator did
not hesitate to call pity a virtue," as Augustine states in De Civ. Dei
ix, 5. Therefore a passion may be a moral virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is stated in Ethic. ii, 5 that "passions are neither
virtues nor vices."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Moral virtue cannot be a passion. This is clear for three
reasons. First, because a passion is a movement of the sensitive
appetite, as stated above (Q[22], A[3]): whereas moral virtue is not a
movement, but rather a principle of the movement of the appetite, being a
kind of habit. Secondly, because passions are not in themselves good or
evil. For man's good or evil is something in reference to reason:
wherefore the passions, considered in themselves, are referable both to
good and evil, for as much as they may accord or disaccord with reason.
Now nothing of this sort can be a virtue: since virtue is referable to
good alone, as stated above (Q[55], A[3]). Thirdly, because, granted that
some passions are, in some way, referable to good only, or to evil only;
even then the movement of passion, as passion, begins in the appetite,
and ends in the reason, since the appetite tends to conformity with
reason. On the other hand, the movement of virtue is the reverse, for it
begins in the reason and ends in the appetite, inasmuch as the latter is
moved by reason. Hence the definition of moral virtue (Ethic. ii, 6)
states that it is "a habit of choosing the mean appointed by reason as a
prudent man would appoint it."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Virtue is a mean between passions, not by reason of its
essence, but on account of its effect; because, to wit, it establishes
the mean between passions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: If by vice we understand a habit of doing evil deeds, it is
evident that no passion is a vice. But if vice is taken to mean sin which
is a vicious act, nothing hinders a passion from being a vice, or, on the
other hand, from concurring in an act of virtue; in so far as a passion
is either opposed to reason or in accordance with reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Pity is said to be a virtue, i.e. an act of virtue, in so
far as "that movement of the soul is obedient to reason"; viz. "when pity
is bestowed without violating right, as when the poor are relieved, or
the penitent forgiven," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5). But if by
pity we understand a habit perfecting man so that he bestows pity
reasonably, nothing hinders pity, in this sense, from being a virtue. The
same applies to similar passions.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether there can be moral virtue with passion?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that moral virtue cannot be with passion. For the
Philosopher says (Topic. iv) that "a gentle man is one who is not
passionate; but a patient man is one who is passionate but does not give
way." The same applies to all the moral virtues. Therefore all moral
virtues are without passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, virtue is a right affection of the soul, as health is to
the body, as stated Phys. vii, text. 17: wherefore "virtue is a kind of
health of the soul," as Cicero says (Quaest. Tusc. iv). But the soul's
passions are "the soul's diseases," as he says in the same book. Now
health is incompatible with disease. Therefore neither is passion
compatible with virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, moral virtue requires perfect use of reason even in
particular matters. But the passions are an obstacle to this: for the
Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "pleasures destroy the judgment of
prudence": and Sallust says (Catilin.) that "when they," i.e. the soul's
passions, "interfere, it is not easy for the mind to grasp the truth."
Therefore passion is incompatible with moral virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 6): "If the will is
perverse, these movements," viz. the passions, "are perverse also: but if
it is upright, they are not only blameless, but even praiseworthy." But
nothing praiseworthy is incompatible with moral virtue. Therefore moral
virtue does not exclude the passions, but is consistent with them.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, The Stoics and Peripatetics disagreed on this point, as
Augustine relates (De Civ. Dei ix, 4). For the Stoics held that the
soul's passions cannot be in a wise or virtuous man: whereas the
Peripatetics, who were founded by Aristotle, as Augustine says (De Civ.
Dei ix, 4), maintained that the passions are compatible with moral
virtue, if they be reduced to the mean.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

This difference, as Augustine observes (De Civ. Dei ix, 4), was one of
words rather than of opinions. Because the Stoics, through not
discriminating between the intellective appetite, i.e. the will, and the
sensitive appetite, which is divided into irascible and concupiscible,
did not, as the Peripatetics did, distinguish the passions from the other
affections of the human soul, in the point of their being movements of
the sensitive appetite, whereas the other emotions of the soul, which
are not passions, are movements of the intellective appetite or will; but
only in the point of the passions being, as they maintained, any emotions
in disaccord with reason. These emotions could not be in a wise or
virtuous man if they arose deliberately: while it would be possible for
them to be in a wise man, if they arose suddenly: because, in the words
of Aulus Gellius [*Noct. Attic. xix, 1], quoted by Augustine (De Civ. Dei
ix, 4), "it is not in our power to call up the visions of the soul, known
as its fancies; and when they arise from awesome things, they must needs
disturb the mind of a wise man, so that he is slightly startled by fear,
or depressed with sorrow," in so far as "these passions forestall the use
of reason without his approving of such things or consenting thereto."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

Accordingly, if the passions be taken for inordinate emotions, they
cannot be in a virtuous man, so that he consent to them deliberately; as
the Stoics maintained. But if the passions be taken for any movements of
the sensitive appetite, they can be in a virtuous man, in so far as they
are subordinate to reason. Hence Aristotle says (Ethic. ii, 3) that "some
describe virtue as being a kind of freedom from passion and disturbance;
this is incorrect, because the assertion should be qualified": they
should have said virtue is freedom from those passions "that are not as
they should be as to manner and time."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Philosopher quotes this, as well as many other examples
in his books on Logic, in order to illustrate, not his own mind, but that
of others. It was the opinion of the Stoics that the passions of the soul
were incompatible with virtue: and the Philosopher rejects this opinion
(Ethic. ii, 3), when he says that virtue is not freedom from passion. It
may be said, however, that when he says "a gentle man is not passionate,"
we are to understand this of inordinate passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: This and all similar arguments which Tully brings forward
in De Tusc. Quaest. iv take the passions in the execution of reason's
command.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: When a passion forestalls the judgment of reason, so as to
prevail on the mind to give its consent, it hinders counsel and the
judgment of reason. But when it follows that judgment, as through being
commanded by reason, it helps towards the execution of reason's command.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether sorrow is compatible with moral virtue?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that sorrow is incompatible with virtue. Because
the virtues are effects of wisdom, according to Wis. 8:7: "She," i.e.
Divine wisdom, "teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and
fortitude." Now the "conversation" of wisdom "hath no bitterness," as we
read further on (verse 16). Therefore sorrow is incompatible with virtue
also.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, sorrow is a hindrance to work, as the Philosopher states
(Ethic. vii, 13; x, 5). But a hindrance to good works is incompatible
with virtue. Therefore sorrow is incompatible with virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Tully calls sorrow a disease of the mind (De Tusc.
Quaest. iv). But disease of the mind is incompatible with virtue, which
is a good condition of the mind. Therefore sorrow is opposed to virtue
and is incompatible with it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Christ was perfect in virtue. But there was sorrow in
Him, for He said (Mt. 26:38): "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."
Therefore sorrow is compatible with virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 8), the Stoics held
that in the mind of the wise man there are three {eupatheiai}, i.e.
"three good passions," in place of the three disturbances: viz. instead
of covetousness, "desire"; instead of mirth, "joy"; instead of fear,
"caution." But they denied that anything corresponding to sorrow could be
in the mind of a wise man, for two reasons.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Body Para. 2/4

First, because sorrow is for an evil that is already present. Now they
held that no evil can happen to a wise man: for they thought that, just
as man's only good is virtue, and bodily goods are no good to man; so
man's only evil is vice, which cannot be in a virtuous man. But this is
unreasonable. For, since man is composed of soul and body, whatever
conduces to preserve the life of the body, is some good to man; yet not
his supreme good, because he can abuse it. Consequently the evil which is
contrary to this good can be in a wise man, and can cause him moderate
sorrow. Again, although a virtuous man can be without grave sin, yet no
man is to be found to live without committing slight sins, according to 1
Jn. 1:8: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." A third
reason is because a virtuous man, though not actually in a state of sin,
may have been so in the past. And he is to be commended if he sorrow for
that sin, according to 2 Cor. 7:10: "The sorrow that is according to God
worketh penance steadfast unto salvation." Fourthly, because he may
praiseworthily sorrow for another's sin. Therefore sorrow is compatible
with moral virtue in the same way as the other passions are when
moderated by reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Body Para. 3/4

Their second reason for holding this opinion was that sorrow is about
evil present, whereas fear is for evil to come: even as pleasure is about
a present good, while desire is for a future good. Now the enjoyment of a
good possessed, or the desire to have good that one possesses not, may be
consistent with virtue: but depression of the mind resulting from sorrow
for a present evil, is altogether contrary to reason: wherefore it is
incompatible with virtue. But this is unreasonable. For there is an evil
which can be present to the virtuous man, as we have just stated; which
evil is rejected by reason. Wherefore the sensitive appetite follows
reason's rejection by sorrowing for that evil; yet moderately, according
as reason dictates. Now it pertains to virtue that the sensitive
appetite be conformed to reason, as stated above (A[1], ad 2). Wherefore
moderated sorrow for an object which ought to make us sorrowful, is a
mark of virtue; as also the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 6,7). Moreover,
this proves useful for avoiding evil: since, just as good is more readily
sought for the sake of pleasure, so is evil more undauntedly shunned on
account of sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] Body Para. 4/4

Accordingly we must allow that sorrow for things pertaining to virtue is
incompatible with virtue: since virtue rejoices in its own. On the other
hand, virtue sorrows moderately for all that thwarts virtue, no matter
how.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The passage quoted proves that the wise man is not made
sorrowful by wisdom. Yet he sorrows for anything that hinders wisdom.
Consequently there is no room for sorrow in the blessed, in whom there
can be no hindrance to wisdom.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Sorrow hinders the work that makes us sorrowful: but it
helps us to do more readily whatever banishes sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Immoderate sorrow is a disease of the mind: but moderate
sorrow is the mark of a well-conditioned mind, according to the present
state of life.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether all the moral virtues are about the passions?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that all the moral virtues are about the passions.
For the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 3) that "moral virtue is about
objects of pleasure and sorrow." But pleasure and sorrow are passions, as
stated above (Q[23], A[4]; Q[31], A[1]; Q[35], AA[1], 2). Therefore all
the moral virtues are about the passions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the subject of the moral virtues is a faculty which is
rational by participation, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. i, 13). But
the passions are in this part of the soul, as stated above (Q[22], A[3]).
Therefore every moral virtue is about the passions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, some passion is to be found in every moral virtue: and
so either all are about the passions, or none are. But some are about the
passions, as fortitude and temperance, as stated in Ethic. iii, 6,10.
Therefore all the moral virtues are about the passions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Justice, which is a moral virtue, is not about the
passions; as stated in Ethic. v, 1, seqq.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Moral virtue perfects the appetitive part of the soul by
directing it to good as defined by reason. Now good as defined by reason
is that which is moderated or directed by reason. Consequently there are
moral virtues about all matters that are subject to reason's direction
and moderation. Now reason directs, not only the passions of the
sensitive appetite, but also the operations of the intellective
appetite, i.e. the will, which is not the subject of a passion, as stated
above (Q[22], A[3]). Therefore not all the moral virtues are about
passions, but some are about passions, some about operations.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The moral virtues are not all about pleasures and sorrows,
as being their proper matter; but as being something resulting from their
proper acts. For every virtuous man rejoices in acts of virtue, and
sorrows for the contrary. Hence the Philosopher, after the words quoted,
adds, "if virtues are about actions and passions; now every action and
passion is followed by pleasure or sorrow, so that in this way virtue is
about pleasures and sorrows," viz. as about something that results from
virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Not only the sensitive appetite which is the subject of the
passions, is rational by participation, but also the will, where there
are no passions, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Some virtues have passions as their proper matter, but some
virtues not. Hence the comparison does not hold for all cases.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether there can be moral virtue without passion?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that moral virtue can be without passion. For the
more perfect moral virtue is, the more does it overcome the passions.
Therefore at its highest point of perfection it is altogether without
passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, then is a thing perfect, when it is removed from its
contrary and from whatever inclines to its contrary. Now the passions
incline us to sin which is contrary to virtue: hence (Rm. 7:5) they are
called "passions of sins." Therefore perfect virtue is altogether without
passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it is by virtue that we are conformed to God, as
Augustine declares (De Moribus Eccl. vi, xi, xiii). But God does all
things without passion at all. Therefore the most perfect virtue is
without any passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, "No man is just who rejoices not in his deeds," as
stated in Ethic. i, 8. But joy is a passion. Therefore justice cannot be
without passion; and still less can the other virtues be.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, If we take the passions as being inordinate emotions, as
the Stoics did, it is evident that in this sense perfect virtue is
without the passions. But if by passions we understand any movement of
the sensitive appetite, it is plain that moral virtues, which are about
the passions as about their proper matter, cannot be without passions.
The reason for this is that otherwise it would follow that moral virtue
makes the sensitive appetite altogether idle: whereas it is not the
function of virtue to deprive the powers subordinate to reason of their
proper activities, but to make them execute the commands of reason, by
exercising their proper acts. Wherefore just as virtue directs the bodily
limbs to their due external acts, so does it direct the sensitive
appetite to its proper regulated movements.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] Body Para. 2/2

Those moral virtues, however, which are not about the passions, but
about operations, can be without passions. Such a virtue is justice:
because it applies the will to its proper act, which is not a passion.
Nevertheless, joy results from the act of justice; at least in the will,
in which case it is not a passion. And if this joy be increased through
the perfection of justice, it will overflow into the sensitive appetite;
in so far as the lower powers follow the movement of the higher, as
stated above (Q[17], A[7]; Q[24], A[3]). Wherefore by reason of this kind
of overflow, the more perfect a virtue is, the more does it cause passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Virtue overcomes inordinate passion; it produces ordinate
passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: It is inordinate, not ordinate, passion that leads to sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[59] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The good of anything depends on the condition of its
nature. Now there is no sensitive appetite in God and the angels, as
there is in man. Consequently good operation in God and the angels is
altogether without passion, as it is without a body: whereas the good
operation of man is with passion, even as it is produced with the body's
help.





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